Building Permit

A Building Permit is required for any new construction, addition, change or repair to a building (including reroofs, fireplaces, swimming pools, carports, etc.). Only a licensed contractor or owner/builder may be issued a building permit. A single Building Permit application can be submitted for all work on a project including building, electrical, mechanical, plumbing, etc.

How to get a Building Permit

If Planning Division approvals (such as design review or use permit) are needed, you must obtain them before applying for your building permit.

The first step is to fill out a Building Permit Application form. Next, file the application with the Department of Community Development. Your application will need to include up to six (6) sets of plans. Six sets of plans are required for projects in designated high fire severity zones and non-residential tenant improvements/alterations. Seven sets of plans (including landscaping plans) are required for new non-residential projects.  

The plans must include the following:

  • Plot Plan: Draw the perimeter of entire parcel. Show all parcel dimensions to scale. Show all existing and proposed buildings. Show the front, side and rear dimensions. Show the lot lines, distance to property lines and other buildings. Show finish and existing ground slope. Show all easements, envelopes, and special requirements of the subdivision as shown on the final map and improvement plans.
  • Floor Plan: Completely dimension and show location, size and use of each room. Show the location and size of windows and doors. Show electrical outlets, plumbing and heating fixtures. floor area, window area and furnace size on plans. Show energy features and compliance requirement.
  • Foundation Plan: Completely dimension plan, including interior footings and fireplace support. Label porches, patios, planters, garage, etc. Show post straps and tie-downs where required.
  • Elevations: Minimum of North, South, East and West four elevation views showing all openings, exterior finish, original and finish grade, stepped footing outline, roof pitch and material.
  • Framing plans for floors and roof.
  • Cross Section: Provide true section through building showing structural elements, fireplace section, other sections as needed, earth-to-wood clearances and floor to ceiling heights.
  • Details: Submit foundation, floor, walls and roof details, beam connections, support of beams at fireplace, etc., special details as required.
  • All plans require signature of person responsible. A licensed professional must sign certain specific plans or conditions.

Other information required:

  • Two sets of Green Building Checklists for new buildings.
  • Two sets of signed energy calculations, when appropriate.
  • Two set of structural calculations, when suitable.
  • One set of specifications when appropriate.
  • One soils report, if applicable and the soils engineer's foundation plan review letter. Soils report is required for all new buildings and for additions larger than 500 square feet.

Leaving any of the above out of your application may cause delays in plan checking and may also be cause for your plans to be returned due to insufficient information.

Conditions to meet before the building permit is issued

  • Any conditions of approval (such as right-of-way dedications, etc.) Must be met and any associated fees must be paid.
  • Any required planning actions, such as design review or use permit, must be complete, and conditions of approval addressed.


All plan check and permit fees (except mobile home set-up and alterations) are based on the value of the project. The project total is the value of all the construction that the permit is issued for. This includes all finish work, roofing, electrical, plumbing, heating, air conditioning, elevators, fire extinguishing systems, any other permanent work or permanent equipment,normal site preparation and paving. It does not include the cost of the land.

The types of fees mentioned below are not all inclusive.

1. Fees due when filing application - When applying for a Building Permit, you will need to pay an application processing fee and a plan review fee. If your project needs additional planning approvals an additional fee for that service will be required as well.

2. Fees due when permit is issued - When the permit is issued you must pay a Building Permit fee and Development fees. Development fees will be charged for each new residential unit and for new or expanded commercial construction. Development fees will be charged for new residential and new or expanded commercial projects. Residential projects will also be charged park fees. Commercial projects may also be subject to Public Art in-lieu fee.

Change in Time for Collection of Development Impact Fees

Before obtaining your building permits, you must pay any required sewer and water hookup fees and encroachment permit fees. You also will be required to pay school impact fees to the affected school district.

Issuance of the building permiit

When your plans are checked and approved and you have met any related conditions of approval, your permit is ready to be issued. You will be contacted to come to the office, pay the remaining fees, and pick up your permit. An owner-builder must sign the form in person. Contractors may authorize an employee to sign building permits. This authorization must be given in writing.

If the owner or contractor intends to hire anyone to work on the project, she/he must provide evidence of Workers' Compensation Insurance. Contractors must present evidence of a current contractor's license (pocket card) and must have a current City of Santa Rosa business license at the time of permit issuance. An approved copy of the plans must be kept at the job site.

Time limits

You must pick up your permit within one year from the date you applied for it. You may submit a written request for a one time extension of up to 180 days. If this period ends without your picking up your permit, you will lose your plan check fee and need to reapply. After the permit has been issued, you have 180 calendar days from the date it was issued to start work on your building and call for an inspection by the Building Division. You may submit a written request for an extension on the building permit deadline before the 180th day.


At each stage of construction you will be required to request an inspection by the Building Division. The Building Division requires advance notice for all inspections. Inspections can be requested for either morning or afternoon. Specific times of the day cannot be scheduled. The types of inspection required and the methods for requesting an inspection are provided within your copy of the Building Permit.


After a permit has been issued, any changes to the plans must be approved by the Building Division. Two sets of the proposed changes must be prepared by the architect, engineer or plan preparer and brought in for our review. A fee may be charged for the review and approval of the plan change. 

Summary of process

  1. File permit application with plans, and pay initial fees.
  2. Plans are reviewed by a Building Plan Checker- referred to other departments if necessary.
  3. Plan Checker tells you of any changes that need to be made to the plans.
  4. You correct plans and resubmit (if corrections are required).
  5. Plans undergo second plan review.
  6. When all corrections are completed, plans approved and building permit ready for issuance.
  7. Pay remaining fees and pick up permit.
  8. Start construction - call for inspections.
  9. Construction of the proposed work is inspected by the Building Inspector during all phases of the project. Upon successful completion of the final inspection, a certificate of occupancy (inspector's sign off on the building permit final inspection) will be issued.